KEY TAKEAWAY: The biggest challenge facing pharma, and all healthcare for that matter, is the drive for increased profit at the expense of patients. Unless pharma acknowledges that they need to put patients first in everything they do, they are going to pay the price in increased calls for a “single payer” system.
Following Digital Pharma in social media I was reminded that there still are a lot of very good people in the industry who understand the challenge of marketing to patients today. However, like I wrote before, there is a disconnect between developing a strategy and actually implementing it.
When I see the salaries of pharma CEO’s and health insurance executives I am often troubled and confused. How could a health insurance CEO take home tens of millions of dollars in compensation when they raise rates for customers? How can a pharma CEO take home so much money knowing that there are some patients who can’t afford their medications?
The sad truth, I’m afraid, is that somewhere within the last decade pharma became a big business driven by profits, not putting patients first. When a drug fails in clinical trials the media doesn’t talk about the impact on patients, it talks about the impact on the company’s stock. That speaks volumes about how bad our industry has become.
DTC marketers know what they need to do to make their marketing relevant to their audience, but they often lack the budgets to make it happen. Everything is now based on ROI instead of asking “how can we help patients?”. Offering a medication to fight chronic health problems is not enough. Patients today need help from a healthcare system that treats them as a number not a person. They are left to fend for themselves when it comes to understanding how to live with health issues that affect their lives.
A new breed of pharma CEO is needed. Someone who can tell Wall Street that what we are doing to help patients will lead to better profits and someone who doesn’t ask for a compensation package that makes them a millionaire ten times over. Most importantly, we need CEO’s that allow the rank and file to implement programs that actually embrace patients based on their needs rather than a projected ROI.